One of the best parts of managing this conference and exhibition is networking. It's a gas! I've met some of the coolest women I would ever hope to shake hands or twitter with. Ever since Michigan state representative Lisa Brown's Vagina Clamp Down in Michigan, Twitterland has been buzzing like an angry beehive. The swiftness and velocity of changes were fascinating to watch and be part of.
Initially, we were tagging with #warOnWomen and swiftly moved to just doing it, typing #vagina over and over again. We soon realized you had to add #Michigan, or your tweet went into a cesspool of nasty porn labels. What was insightful about this was I could see how porn surfers use the simple word, vagina to pull up dirty pictures. Ah ha! Caught ya, ya porn-surfing House of Representatives GOP yahoos!
Within 24 hours we moved away from simply typing #vagina to typing #sayVagina, because that's what it's all about, isn't it? We lost connection to the porn folks and kept the beat pounding. Better, it next moved off the electronic steps and onto the Michigan Capital steps, with a brilliant performance of The Vagina Monologues by Lisa Brown.
Most recently, we have new hash tags: #BITCHforks for the #TeamUterati. Another tick of the clock, and we have artists making bitch forks and dog tags stamped Uterati, along with a strong declaration, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS…ANTI-WOMAN LEGISLATION! AND THEY SHALL KNOW US BY OUR BITCHFORKS - TeamUterati". @AngryBlackWoman put a Tweet out for a PhotoShop version of the art, and I took her up on it.
I hope AngryBlackLady comes to our conference, for I've enjoyed her Tweets the best out of all of the Anti-WarOnWomen tweople.
Do you know that the average female artist earns 10%-30% of what a male artist of comparable standing earns for selling comparable art? The Economist Magazine says it all in its recent article The price of being female http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2012/05/post-war-artists-auction. In an artnet list of the top ten most expensive post-war artists at auction we find the sculpture Spider by Louise Bourgeois selling for over $10 million. Sounds great, right? Sure, until we compare it to the Orange, Red, Yellow painting by Mark Rothko which sells for over $86 million! And so it goes.
And get this: it's widely known that when artists submit work for jurying in a "blind entry" without revealing their identity, the results are usually 50% or more female. But just add a name or sex to that entry and then we are back down to below 30%. See Eleanor Bader's recent article in Truth-Out Magazine http://truth-out.org/news/item/8971-women-artists-still-face-discrimination
Need more convincing? Take a look at the web site listing artists currently being shown at Gagosian Gallery http://www.gagosian.com/artists. You'll find 25 artists, 22 male, 3 female. How about sister gallery owners like Mary Boone Gallery? Out of Boone's stable of 30 artists, 25 are male, 5 female http://www.maryboonegallery.com/artists.html.
Respected galleries with other than top-heavy representation for male artists are the exception. That's why women and men should support galleries like Flomenhaft Gallery, an example of diversity with a stable of 17 artists, 6 male, 11 female http://flomenhaftgallery.com/flomenhaft_gallery_artists.php.
Women and men who care about inequity in any field must lend their support to the many female artists struggling to stay alive in this cauldron of bias existing in today's culture?
Here are some suggestions:
1. For those that can afford to buy art: buy art from galleries like Flomenhaft, where female artists are supported. (Full disclosure: my own exhibition, The Fluidity of Gender, is on view at Flomenhaft until June 23rd http://conta.cc/KZ09JK.)
2. For those that can afford to contribute money: make a donation today to support non-profits like my Have Art: Will Travel! http://haveartwilltravel.org/ or purchase a Woman of Courage fine-art printin which 20% goes directly to the appropriate women's charitable group http://haveartwilltravel.org/?page_id=1212
3. For those employed, look to your places of employment, especially those of you who are academics, to help get female artists in exhibitions at universities and institutions around the country.
4. For those of you who own businesses or foundations, help women get grants, honors and awards for their achievements.
5. Make contact with venues, or friends and colleagues who know of venues, that might bring female artists to lecture.
6. Use social media to spread the word of a female artist you want to support. If you are a twitter maven, use it on behalf of women artists.
7. Use your positions as Art Historians, Curators, Teachers, Critics, Writers, Corporate Heads and Lovers-of-Art to help promote female artists.
Thank you for giving this thought.
100 Reade Street
New York, NY 10013
President, Non-Profit Corp: www.HaveArtWillTravel.org
Vice President, NY Chapter of Women's Caucus for Art: http://nationalwca.org/index.php
Art Editor: On the Issues Magazine: http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com
Flomenhaft Gallery, Chelsea, Manhattan. http://bit.ly/flome
Traveling Solo Exhibition: The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein, 2010-2015: http://conta.cc/KZ09JK
Latest YouTube Videos: http://lindastein.com/home/steinVideo.html
Latest Lectures: http://haveartwilltravel.org/?page_id=2124
Latest Exhibition Catalogues: http://www.lindastein.com/home/exhibitionCatalogs.html